MORE IN­CEN­TIVES FOR ARMY VET­ER­ANS

Ev­ery vet­eran group will ben­e­fit, says Hisham

New Straits Times - - News -

FER­NANDO FONG KUALA LUMPUR kee.soon@nst.com.my

THE gov­ern­ment will an­nounce more in­cen­tives for Malaysian Armed Forces vet­er­ans “very soon”, said De­fence Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Hisham­mud­din Hus­sein.

He said the De­fence Min­istry was fi­nal­is­ing hous­ing, health, ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing in­cen­tives for vet­er­ans.

He said the ini­tia­tives would ben­e­fit ev­ery vet­eran group re­gard­less of whether they were pen­sion­ers or non-pen­sion­ers, adding that their fam­ily mem­bers would also ben­e­fit.

“The gov­ern­ment has taken into con­sid­er­a­tion var­i­ous fac­tors, find­ings, views and feed­back be­fore im­ple­ment­ing the in­cen­tives.

“It is not easy to im­ple­ment these ini­tia­tives. For Ban­tuan Bakti Ne­gara (BBN) only, for ex­am­ple, the gov­ern­ment needs to spend more than RM85 mil­lion a year,” he said.

Hisham­mud­din was re­fer­ring to the an­nounce­ment of five new schemes, in­clud­ing an­nual as­sis­tance for non-pen­sion­able vet­er­ans and an an­nu­ity scheme, by Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak on Mon­day.

Na­jib an­nounced a RM5 mil­lion al­lo­ca­tion for the War­riors’ Fund 2017 and the in­crease in the haj quota for vet­er­ans from 100 to 400, start­ing this year.

The an­nounce­ment was made in front of more than 15,000 vet­er­ans at the MAF Vet­er­ans As­sem­bly, in con­junc­tion with the launch of the War­riors’ Fund 2017.

Hisham­mud­din said ini­tia­tives had been im­ple­mented to im­prove the wel­fare of vet­er­ans and their fam­ily mem­bers since he led the min­istry four years ago.

These, he said, in­cluded the 1Malaysia Vet­eran House Re­pair Pro­gramme, the con­struc­tion of af­ford­able hous­ing, Pub­lic Univer­sity Ad­mit­tance As­sis­tance Scheme for chil­dren of vet­er­ans, con­struc­tion of Armed Forces Poly­clinic, Prior Ex­pe­ri­en­tial Learn­ing Recog­ni­tion Pro­gram and Natural Dis­as­ter Re­lief Scheme.

Hisham­mud­din in­tro­duced the In­sur­gency Spe­cial In­cen­tive Pay­ment for vet­er­ans who sus­tained in­juries dur­ing the Emer­gency.

He said the liveli­hood as­sis­tance in­cen­tives for vet­er­ans with­out a sta­ble in­come had been in­creased to RM300 a month.

The min­i­mum age re­quire­ment for this as­sis­tance, he said, had been re­duced from 65 to 60 years old.

He said he had in­structed the set­ting up of a Vet­eran Call Cen­tre, which served as a chan­nel be­tween vet­er­ans and the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs.

The call cen­tre will act as a plat­form for vet­er­ans to share news, lodge com­plaints or re­lay in­for­ma­tion that can help the gov­ern­ment im­prove their wel­fare.

He said no vet­eran would be left out de­spite con­cerns that Na­jib’s an­nounce­ment on Mon­day had mostly touched on wel­fare in­cen­tives for non-pen­sion­able vet­er­ans and dis­abled vet­er­ans.

“In to­day’s un­cer­tain eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion, we need to give pri­or­ity to those who re­ally need it. These non-pen­sion­ers need to be helped.

“They have no fixed in­come and do not have monthly pen­sion, let alone en­joy the an­nual pen­sion in­crease,” he said.

He called on vet­er­ans to sup­port the gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to help their non-pen­sion­able friends in the name of friend­ship and chivalry.

He said the liveli­hood and wel­fare of vet­er­ans re­mained a pri­or­ity for the gov­ern­ment, and that more would be done for them in the fu­ture.

“The gov­ern­ment ap­pre­ci­ates the con­tri­bu­tions and sac­ri­fices of vet­er­ans and their fam­ily mem­bers, in­clud­ing vet­er­ans with pen­sion, who have proven them­selves to be loyal un­til the end of their ser­vice,” he said.

Datuk Seri Hisham­mud­din Hus­sein

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